|Acts Chapter 22|
Translation by William E. Paul
by Charles Dailey
(Black underlined words match words in the Bible text.)
|1) "Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense I want to make to you."|| – Paul's opening statement is strikingly similar to the words that He heard Stephen use many years before. Acts 7:2. |
- He addressed the crowd respectfully even though he had been roughed up by them.
|2) And when they heard him speaking in the Hebrew language, they listened all the more quietly. So, he continued,||– Listeners were impressed by his command of their Hebrew (Aramaic) language.|
|3) "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, in Cilicia, but raised [here] in this city [i.e., Jerusalem]. [I was] instructed by Gamaliel [i.e., a renowned Jewish rabbi of the time] according to the strictest methods of observing the law of our forefathers. [I was very] eager to serve God, just as all of you are here today.|| – Paul advances three credentials they should accept: 1. He was a Jew from Jerusalem 2. He had studied under their finest teacher 3. He, too, had seriously opposed the message of Jesus of Nazareth. |
- While foreign born, he was raised locally.
- Gamaliel had died six years before. We heard from him last in Acts 5:34.
- Paul had very, very orthodox training.
- Eager here is: "boiling over."
|4) And I persecuted this 'Way' [even to the point of] putting people to death. [I had] both men and women bound [in chains] and locked up in prisons.|| – He could not have opposed Jesus of Nazareth more! |
- Way seems to be a designation the group understood.
- Notice that women were included. Think of the entire families that were disrupted.
|5) The head priest can also verify all this, and so can the body of [Jewish] elders. They furnished me with letters to our fellow-Jews in Damascus, to which I also traveled to bring people back here to Jerusalem, bound in chains to be punished.|| – The new high priest is Ananias, son of Nebedaeus. He is a newcomer to our story. |
- fellow-Jews - He makes a strong identification with the religion of his listeners.
- Paul was even more anxious than his listeners to have God worshiped "properly."
|6) "And then it suddenly happened, about noon, as I was traveling and got close to Damascus, that this brilliant light from the sky flashed all around me.|| – The event that changed his life is described. |
- That it was noon is new information not included in Luke's narration of chapter 9.
|7) I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'|| – He persecuted Christ's body. |
- Jesus is closely identified with His Body, the church.
|8) I answered, 'Who are you, sir?' And the voice answered me, 'I am Jesus from Nazareth, the One you are persecuting.'||– The from Nazareth information is new.|
|9) Those who accompanied me saw the light clearly, but did not hear [i.e., understand] the voice of the one speaking to me.|| – Others were not blinded by the light. They did not understand the words that were spoken. |
- This is new information.
|10) Then I asked, 'What am I to do, Lord?' And the Lord replied to me, 'Get up, go into Damascus and there you will be told everything [I have] appointed for you to do.'|| – Paul begins to submit to Jesus. There are many steps ahead. |
- This question showing submission is new information.
- Suspense! Paul had been picked - but what for?
|11) And since I could not see [anything] because of the brilliance of the light, I had to be led by the hand of those with me into Damascus.|| – The leader is now being led. |
- Our guess is they were on foot, not on animals.
- This must have been very hard on the ego of such an angry man.
|12) "[Then] Ananias, a man who was devoted to [observing] the law of Moses and who had a good reputation among all the Jews who lived there,||– Ananias was not a marginal Jew. He was a keeper of the law of Moses and had a good reputation in the Jewish community in Damascus.|
|13) came and stood beside me and said, 'Brother Saul, regain your sight.' And at that very moment I looked at him [fully able to see again].||– Paul was a brother in Moses. Cp. Luke 6:42.|
|14) And he said [to me], 'The God of our forefathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One [i.e., Jesus], and to hear His voice [speaking to you].||– Paul had been chosen by God from birth. Galatians 1:15 - Paul had both seen and heard Jesus of Nazareth.|
|15) For you will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.||– He is to witness like the 12. Acts 1:8. - all people certainly implies the Gentiles.|
|16) So now, what are you waiting for? Get up and be immersed [into Christ], and have your sins washed away as you appeal to His name [i.e., to Christ's authority].'|| – The point of removing sin is immersion into Christ. He had encountered Christ and believed what He said, but Paul still needed to take action. |
- Most of the information of this verse is new.
- His name = Jesus' authority. Paul has just told his listeners (by quoting Ananias) that their sins could be washed away by obeying Jesus. They were reminded of sins by their Jewish practices. Heb. 10:3.
|17) "And it happened that when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the Temple, I fell into a trance [i.e., a semi-conscious vision-like state].||– Paul had not abandoned this Temple. He came here to pray after his encounter with Christ.|
|18) And I saw [and heard] the Lord saying to me, 'Hurry up, get out of Jerusalem quickly, because the people [here] will reject your testimony about me.'||– Like so many new believers, Paul thought his colleagues would accept the truth as he had.|
|19) And I replied, 'Lord, they know very well that I am [the one] who imprisoned and beat the believers [who assembled] in every synagogue,|| – Jerusalem had numerous synagogues. |
- Christians still attended the synagogue.
|20) and when your witness Stephen was killed, I stood there, approving [of it] and [even] guarding the clothing of those who stoned him to death.'||– Paul remembered Stephen's death and took the blame.|
|21) Then the Lord said to me, 'Go, for I will send you far away from here to the Gentiles.'"||– The implication is that Gentiles will accept what the Jews rejected.|
|22) The people had listened to Paul speaking up to this point [i.e., until he said the word "Gentiles"], then they raised their voices and shouted, "Do away with such a person from the earth; it is not right for him to live."|| – 22.) We must remember that Luke is a Gentile writing primarily to another Gentile, Theophilus. The prejudice against Gentiles is extreme. |
- Their sense of right was badly skewed.
|23) And while the people shouted, waved around [torn] clothing and threw dust into the air,||– We can feel the emotion across 19 centuries.|
|24) the commander ordered Paul to be brought to headquarters and requested that he be interrogated by means of a flogging, in order to learn the reason why people were shouting against him.|| – Paul's right to speak was revoked for his own safety. |
- Flogging was terrible; worse than any previous beating.
- The commander assumed the people had a case. He may not have been able to understand Paul's defense in Hebrew.
|25) Just as they were tying him up [in preparation] for the flogging, Paul said to the officer nearby, "Is it lawful for you to whip a Roman [citizen] before he has been [legally] condemned?"||– This was illegal twice over. It is illegal to tie up a Roman citizen before he has been found guilty and it is worse to flog one.|
|26) When the officer heard this, he [immediately] went and told the commander, saying, "What are you going to do? For this man is a Roman citizen."||– This would mean the person responsible would be treated the same way.|
|27) Then the commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you [really] a Roman citizen?" Paul said, "Yes."||– The punishment for a false claim to Roman citizenship was death.|
|28) The commander answered, "It cost me a large sum of money to obtain this [right of] citizenship." Paul replied, "But I am a Roman citizen by birth."|| – Citizenship was sold by Claudius' wife Messalina as an example of what he is talking about. Claudius Lysias may have been a Greek. |
- Paul came from a family that had legal Roman citizenship.
|29) Then those who were about to interrogate Paul [with whips] immediately left him, and the commander also became fearful when he realized that he had chained a Roman citizen [illegally].|| – "We're out of here." They were fearful of what might happen if Paul filed charges against them. |
- In chains in preparation for flogging.
- Claudius Lysias continued to hold Paul to preserve the life of this Roman citizen.
|30) But the next day the commander released Paul[from the chains] because he wanted to know what specific charges the Jews had against him. So, he ordered the leading priests and the entire [Jewish] Council to assemble, then brought Paul down and placed him in front of them.|| – 30.) Luke generally presents government officials as intelligent and conscientious men that can't figure out Paul's message. |
- Claudius Lysias wanted to understand the charges against Paul.
- down from the Roman Tower of Antonia.
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